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Last year, I asked friends and readers of this blog to sign a petition, asking Google to make their captchas (those little "type in the text you see into the box below) things), accessible to those of us who cannot read graphics. The campaign is generally centered around blindness, but makes good sense for all, including those who "don't see too good", those who cannot read, but use text reading software to navigate the web, those who have text browsers instead of graphic enabled ones and others I'm not aware of, or forgot about unintentionally. The problem, and reason these captchas need to be fixed, is that graphics of letters and numbers don't get represented in text, no matter how textual they seem to the person who uses them. That's because, no matter what we wish, screen readers, text browsers etc, can't discifer graphics. It's the same reason I don't always realize you've put up a really cute picture of fluffy on Facebook or your blog.

So, since screen readers can't read what graphics say without alternative text to tell them what the graphic is, it follows that captcha locks out blind and visually impaired people. There are solutions, such as audio captchas or simple tests which ask you relatively obvious questions. This year, the goal is to get
Yahoo!
to make their captchas accessible.
sign the petition here
to help Yahoo! understand both that making their account creation, group subscription, Del.icio.us account creation, and other creation and subscription services accessible is important to many, and why it's important. I'm happy to answer questions about this, if you don't understand what I'm talking about.

Also, check out
Blind Access Journal
for more information, including one of my favorite posts on why
petitions make a difference.

Comments

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moritherapy
Aug. 2nd, 2007 05:18 pm (UTC)
duh!
hey nickie - asked you on twitter what petition you were talking about and all i had to do is go to your blog!

thanks for being so involved in all of this. you're amazing.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 9th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
yahoo doesn't care about its clients
I agree 100%, but I would go further than you. As a web designer, I can tell you that Yahoo's Captchas are not only impossible to deal with for blind people, but also for people who have perfect eyesight. The letters are so badly written, so intertwined and sometimes pixellized that whoever invented this and thought it was a great captcha should be shot. Yahoo is definitely the worst web site in terms of accessibiliy and "user-friendliness". I think they just don't care, don't you agree? Your post was made in 2007, and the same crappy captchas are still all over Yahoo. This stupid Yahoo even started asked me Captchas when I want to SEND AN EMAIL! Wake up guys...companies who act like they don't care about their customers usually die soon. OOps, sorry, forgot that Yahoo is already dead. Maybe Bill Gates has the answer.

Soon enough you will need to type in a captcha to access the yahoo homepage, or each time you have to do a research.
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